Creativity Exercise: Negative Space

In the simplest terms, negative space is the area in your photographs which surrounds your subject. Generally, that space is quite simplistic, not containing elements which actively contribute to your narrative. Having negative space factored into your composition might seem counterintuitive as it's making your main subject a smaller part of your frame, but in fact, the negative space can allow your subject to breathe and can actually re-enforce your point of view. 

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Negative space in an image can be a really great way to show scale. If you fill the frame with your subject it can be hard to see how big that object or person is in relation to the surroundings. By backing up and giving space, then it allows you to tell your story of how large or small your subject really is. I find this especially effective when photographing kids as it allows me to show how small they are in the world. 

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Although we often think of negative space as being plain or simplistic, it doesn't necessarily have to be. Things like patterned quilts, wallpaper, brick walls, and intricate rugs can add interest to your image. 

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So! This week, your exercise is to create an image that utilizes negative space. 

If you're stuck, it's often easiest to start outside where you have sky to work with. Or get more creative and figure out how to utilize negative space in your home. Use your kids, yourself, nature, fruit, toys, etc. Think about how your negative space is contributing to you story and don't forget your standard rules of composition as to where you place your subject in the frame. 

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Jenny and I will be posting our images from the exercise over on Instagram later this week and we'd love to see what you come up with. Post your image using #unscriptedmentoring so that we can find you! 

Happy shooting! 

Kelly